By Quincey Taylor
Everyone has a story to tell, even if they do not know it. This was the case for Emily Wilkins, sixth semester nursing student.
When she first came to BYU from Colorado Springs, Emily was convinced that she was meant to apply to the music program playing the flute. All of this changed, however, when she was involved in a car accident during her first semester at BYU on the way to the airport. Emily broke her collarbone, had abrasions, and sprained both her ankles. She was taken to the University of Utah Hospital to be observed overnight. The whole experience was terrifying, but the kind nurses at the hospital really helped her feel at ease. Emily comments, “The nurses were just awesome. I was a little 18 year old, my parents weren’t there, and it was kind of scary. They were good at calming me down and letting me know everything was going to be okay.” This was her first experience seeing the Healer’s art in action.
Because of this accident, Emily was not able to audition for the music program and determined that she needed to pick a new major. During this semester, Emily received her mission call to serve in Lithuania in the Baltic Mission. She left still not knowing what to study.
One day during her mission studies, Emily was reading an Ensign article that was talking about how the Savior was the Master Teacher. Emily felt that this was the answer to her prayers. However, in that moment, her first thought was, “but He was a Healer, too.” She decided to go forward with nursing and absolutely loved the prerequisites once she came back to BYU.
Emily is currently doing her capstone in trauma care in the emergency room at Utah Valley Hospital. Initially, Emily thought she would go into labor and delivery, but during her first day in the hospital there was an emergency with a patient. She was walking down the hall and heard the patient call for help. When she came rushing in, Emily saw blood was spurting everywhere, called for a doctor, and immediately tried to stop the bleeding. In that moment, she was able to remain calm and keep a cool head. This was her sign that she was meant to go into trauma care.
Since then, Emily had her first CPR experience in the ER. While these scary situations are by no means fun, Emily is drawn to them because she feels she has a unique ability to stay composed and follow the Spirit in emergency situations. She comments, “Those were the experiences that I really felt God calming me and saying ‘You can do this,’ so I really felt this was my fit.”
Emily is the first of her family to go into healthcare. For her, some of the biggest inspirations are her professors, in not only their professional careers but also who they are as people. When asked how her experience in the program has been, she comments, “The nursing program is really good at preparing us for anything. It seems like our nursing program tends to go deeper than other nursing programs. For example, at clinical you might mention something that you noticed and the preceptor will be like ‘Oh, you guys already learned that? I didn’t learn that until I started working.’”
It is important to Emily to always remember that her patients are children of God in the first place. She had an experience at the hospital with a patient who was not able to talk. The nurse there did not seem too concerned about his feelings and assumed he did not understand what they were saying. Emily related, “We went in to give him an IV, and I noticed he was grimacing. I grabbed his hand and told him it was all going to be okay. In that moment he opened his eyes.” She knew that he had felt her love and that it really made a difference to him in that moment. She hopes to have this attitude throughout her career and adds, “For me, I try to make it a point that every morning when I go to a shift to pray about my patients. I feel like not only does the Spirit help me in giving them care but it also gives me a reminder that these are God’s children and not just a job.”